The New Today


A visionless ministry

Our leaders tell us, and who wouldn’t agree, the most investment for our future is schools and education.

The Ministry of Education employs the same unqualified people to plan and administer curriculum and syllabus every year. This is the visionless cycle of ignorance.

Ministry officials demonstrate no understanding. With knowledge and understanding comes new possibilities and opportunities. I would ask the readers to share my frustration watching all of this unfold.

The Ministry of Education is no exception to the arrogance, poor policies and incompetence of the past and present administration. There is an urgent need for political hygiene in the Ministry of Education as it seems to be surrounded by ‘the high-corrupt officials.’

A skilled and educated workforce is the very basis for economic expansion, especially into high-value and knowledge intensive areas. The ministry’s approach is pure “dictatorial, dishonourable and dangerous.”

There is a reduction in the number of scholarships under this present administration. Yet, this ministry has resorted to denying opportunities to our top-performing students who have worked tirelessly day and night to achieve their dreams of a brighter future.

I have seen nepotism in the Ministry of Education. What the country needs is education reform not education cuts. It is time to retool, reskill and reboot the nation’s workforce to support economic development.

The Ministry of Education is responsible for curriculum, syllabus, planning, policy and standards. Isn’t the goal of the Ministry of Education to establish a powerful, shared mission that is used to drive the actions of stakeholders?

The Ministry of Education has failed to visualise the future of higher education. Visionless leadership, paired with weak commitment, causes problems instead of bringing about any improvements.

A main demand of the teachers is payment of salaries, although it appears that they are more worried about losing their jobs than being paid. Putting all the blame on teachers for the downfall of education in Grenada would be unfair.

The Ministry of Education is solely responsible for the mess. The profile indicates that there are some schools in Grenada, including primary, middle, secondary and higher secondary ones, without buildings.

In terms of condition of school buildings, only 29 per cent of schools have been declared satisfactory, while 41 per cent need repair and 13 per cent have been termed dangerous. Moreover, with respect to the quality of drinking water, the less said the better. In rural areas, ground water has become brackish.

Related:  Violence in schools seems to be on the rise

Imagine the condition of students, teachers and staff in these schools in areas where temperatures usually remain above 40 degree centigrade during the summer season. So, can teaching and learning take place in this environment? When parents are not willing to send their children to school, how can we blame teachers for not attending classes?

Who is responsible for not providing basic facilities? Is it the teachers? Not at all. The Ministry of Education cannot absolve itself from its share of the blame. Actions against irregular, fake and absent teachers are most welcome but the government must put its house in order and get its priorities right. No one is asking for the moon here; only that all schools must be equipped with basic facilities. Is this that big a demand?

There’s no overall vision for education from the Ministry of Education. No joined up thinking; no coherent strategy. The whole culture needs to change.

We present data at a level below the standard expected for GCSE math. It’s a shame and I have not seen the perspective of a vision of education for Grenada. The system has changed completely in the last 10 years in terms of technology but is our population better educated as a result? Not really, no.

A few gems here and there do not make a better system – especially if they’ve taken a disproportionate share of the resources. It’s time to re-engineer something approximating to ‘an education system’.

Everywhere I go, I meet teachers and leaders who are absolutely inspirational: committed, passionate, dedicated, determined; powered by a sense of mission to transform students’ lives.

Despite all the challenges and the teacher-turnover, the whole education community feels vibrant: the school-level debates, the festivals, the conferences and teach meets, the plethora of teachers’ books by teachers… it’s buzzing.

As a profession, we are ALIVE and KICKING. That’s what gives me hope. And in the end, sense will prevail and we will win….! I, therefore, humbly ask the government to quickly dispose of these ministry’s officers if we are to make progress in these state-owned institutions and in order to conduct a smooth forthcoming (2023) massive teacher recruitment or else decisions will be sabotaged or compromised.

Teacher Ambie